Day 1 Halong Bay
We read that the Halong Bay one of the most beautiful parts of Nothern Vietnam is to visit so this is of course the next stop for the dutchies. We went down the street of our hotel in the old district and sat down at a booking agency and got the price down to a reasonble amount (a lot of backpackers were jalous, hihi). On sunday morning it was pretty stressful: ‘Are they really gonna pick us up? Are we scammed? Is it really ok to leave our backpacks here? (Yes we did it. One less day without carrying that huge monster is a freaking blessing).
We thankfully got picked at the hotel by an airconditioned bus. Two days and three days, one on the boot and one night in a hotel on Cat Ba Island. The drive on Sunday took about four hours in which we looked out of the window while listening to 30 Seconds To Mars and One Direction;) We had a tourguide that told us about the history of the Bay and the positive things of tourism in Vietnam (as far as we could understand his English) and made it onto the boat.
There we had a “lovely” (as we dutchies say “niet the haggelen”) afternoon dinner and got to know our fellow boatpeople, and what do you know we had a couple from Nijmegen on our boat!!! After we got our roomkey we made it to the back of the boot where we entered our lovely heated room. It wasn’t allowed to put the airconditioning on until 7 p.m. It took us about five minutes to get changed and migrate to the front of the deck. While we drank some Ha Long beer we took in the incredible scenery. As far as the eye can see, soaring green and rocky karsts. Breathtaking, we felt like we were extras on the set of Juressic Park or Indiana Jones. Before dinner we jumped off the boot into the water and swam for an hour. At night we sat on the top deck and watched the stars and the thunder and lightning above Hanoi. And now the story takes a scary turn.
Two dutchies are tired and want to go to bed. One dutchie, Liz goes to the toilet while Suus chillaxes on the bed writing in her diary. After some tinkling time Liz gets out of the toilet and out of the corner of her eye she sees something shiney moving. Liz ducks down, looks up and there ladies and gentleman, was Henkie the cockroach. Henkie sure as hell wasn’t a small gentleman. And if there is one thing Liz isn’t a fan off besides, missing soccer on the telly, is f*cking cockroaches;) And what do you do in a situation like that? You SCREAMMMM!!!!!!;) and watch the coackroach run across the ceiling and settle in a corner of the room.
Liz did as what many would probably do in a crisis situation like that, run out of the room, grab hold of the first man you see and show him the spot were Henkie resides. So a very kind Vietnamese dude goes into room grabs Henkie, Henkie like a lot of men doesn’t want to be tamed and runs across dude’s arm and INTO Liz’s bed. WTFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!! To make this page turning story short, Liz was hyperventalating in the corner, Suus was laughing histerically on her bed while Liz was doing everything in her power not to puke. All in all Liz made Suus sleep next to her, hoping that Henkie wasn’t the roach who says don’t come knocking when the boat is rocking;)
The next morning after a bumpy night of sleep we were having breakfast at 7 in the morning. After this we went kayakking in the Bay. So we took the GoPro of Suus and went for it. In the beginning we were just slowly rowing and enjoying the view. Eventually it was almost time to head back so we turned the kayak around and to get to the boat. This wasn’t as easy, so with a lot of yelling left and right and going in circles we got back. Our next stop is Cat Ba Island so we went on a boat and bus to make a stop at the national park. Our guide told us it was a short 30 minute walk to the top of a karst, so were like okay we can do that. After more than 30 minutes we were sweating like we were under a shower and the stairs went to 45 degrees. We went as far as our legs could take us but the view was beautiful.
Thank goodness we went to the hotel after this, cooled down a little bit, had lunch and went to the monkey island. We saw 1 monkey in total, so it didn’t really live up to it’s name. But the beach was beautiful, we could swim in the sea with the karsts around us and eventually were overwhelmed by a pack of Vietnamese tourists. In the evening we had a nice dinner with four Danish people and went for a beer after this.
The next day we went back to the boat, had a springroll cooking class and went back to Hanoi. We went back to our hotel and our little monsters were still there. Yeah, jump in the air:) We already booked a open bus tour ticket to Ninh Binh, our next stop, so a taxi picked us up and brought us to the bus. We could barely fit through the aisle with our huge ass bags and there were only Vietnamese people in the bus, looking at us like we were lost, but we made it to our next stop. Applause for us:)
Xx the dutchies on the road